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Tips for Starting the Semester with Blackboard

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The following list of reminders and links can help answer frequently asked questions new faculty, teaching staff, and TAs may have, as they request course space and get ready to develop their courses in Blackboard:

Requesting a new course on Blackboard

After logging into webcourses.niu.edu, click the "Services" tab at the top of the page, follow by "Blackboard Faculty Tools". Click "My Courses" and then follow the links on the displayed window. (Instructions and step-by-step tutorials for requesting your course are also available.) In order to request a Blackboard course, you must be the "instructor of record" for the course in the MyNIU system.

Course space requests are processed immediately by the new automated process developed by DoIT. It takes an additional day for someone newly assigned as instructor of record in MyNIU to have permission to request the course in Blackboard. Learn more at niu.edu/blackboard/news/20170210.shtml.

Combining course sections

Those teaching dual level courses (e.g. 400 and 500 or cross-listed courses) or multiple sections may want to combine their sections into one master course. Individuals requesting master courses must be instructor of record in both sections to be combined. Information about doing that can also be found at niu.edu/blackboard/manage/multiplesections.shtml.

"Course combine requests" also are processed immediately. The resulting “Master Course” will include all of the students from both sections, as well as automatic Groups and Grade Center Smart Views for each section. Learn more at niu.edu/blackboard/news/20170413.shtml.

Making courses "available" to students

After creating and posting documents on a Blackboard courses, faculty should make those courses "available" to students. Otherwise, students will not be able to see the courses. This can be automated as part of the course request process, or it can be done manually by following the instructions found at niu.edu/blackboard/manage/availability.shtml.

Using Blackboard on a mobile device

Faculty can download the Blackboard Instructor app for their Apple or Android devices, to be able to communicate with students and view course materials. Students can use a separate Blackboard App on Apple, Android, or Windows devices, which is specially designed for to allow students to engage with their coursework on the go. Both apps are free to use. Learn more at niu.edu/blackboard/mobile.

Blackboard workshops

Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center Center regularly schedules workshops on using Blackboard for teaching purposes, and the monthly program schedules can be found at niu.edu/facdev.

For those who are not able to attend a workshop, there is also now a Self-Paced Blackboard I workshop consisting of short video demonstrations, available at facdev.niu.edu/selfpacedbb1.

Answers to other Frequently Asked Blackboard-related questions can be found at: niu.edu/blackboard/faq and Blackboard-related help information can be found at: niu.edu/blackboard/atoz.

For login and password-related questions, please refer faculty to the IT Service Desk at 815-753-8100 or ServiceDesk@niu.edu, and for other teaching-related Blackboard questions, faculty can submit questions at niu.edu/blackboard/ask.

Last updated: 8/13/2017